Are you a Roundy or a Squary?

….Phew… well that was the most commented-upon-blog-ever-by-a-very-long-way.  THANK YOU.  Amazing. I guess we’re all pretty amazed!

A few months ago I mentioned that I wanted to write a blog about my favourite book by Roger Hargreaves (of the Mr Men fame). And then I never did.  Now seems like just the right time.

The annoying thing is last week I was asked in an interview from some magazine to name the most influential book I’ve ever read. I couldn’t give an answer, because the reality is pretty much every book in my library is influential in some way or another; it depends what the moment is. I don’t like questions like “what’s your favourite building”, or “what’s your favourite flower?” How could you have a single favourite? There are too many choices.  But I realise now, I should have given a simple little title. Easy, job done:

Are you a Roundy or a Squary?


Much less well-known than the Mr Men, I think this little series of books (Roger also wrote Everybody’s a Roundy or a Squary, I’m a Roundy, You’re a Squary, and – rather more worryingly for some of us – If you aren’t a Roundy you’re a Squary) is full of a remarkable amount of truth packed into a little 6″ square.
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I love the four covers together.P1070366

Clearly, it goes without saying, as anyone who has ever met him will attest, I’ve married a Roundy. Charlie is the biggest Roundy known to man.  It’s probably why I love him.

Sit back, have a read, and see what you think about yourself.P1070367 P1070368 P1070369 P1070370 P1070371 P1070372 P1070373 P1070374 P1070375 P1070376 P1070377 P1070378

I’m a Squary at that particular moment.P1070379

I still think that Are you a Roundy or a Squary is my favourite. But for the sake of completeness, and for those who have a long commute, I am including the others in this blog too.P1070380 P1070381 P1070382 P1070383 P1070384

(Uh oh).P1070385 P1070386 P1070387 P1070388 P1070389 P1070390 P1070391

You get the feeling Roger Hargreaves was probably the ultimate Roundy too. He couldn’t have been anything else, if you think about it. I adored the Mr Men when I was a child. For about a year or so, until it got crazy, we began selling vintage Mr Men copies in the shop. They had to date from the 70s to have the right feel and smell.P1070392 P1070393 P1070394 P1070395 P1070396 P1070397 P1070398 P1070399 P1070400 P1070401 P1070402 P1070403

Don’t you love EVERYTHING about these books?  I was first put on to Are you a Roundy or a Squary? by my great friend George Saumarez Smith. George had had this book as a child. I only could enjoy it as an adult. P1070404 P1070405 P1070406 P1070407 P1070408 P1070409 P1070410 P1070411 P1070412 P1070413 P1070414 P1070415

The interesting question, if I’m really really honest with myself, is to ask exactly how Roundy I really am.  Charlie is round-and-round Roundy.  Obviously, we’d all like to be Roundies.P1070416

But rather a large part of me is Squary, and perhaps the world needs people who are a bit Squary too.  I don’t know.  I’ve decided that Roundies decide where to go on holiday, and Squaries book the flights.  Squaries have their uses.

Our friend Richard Chapman summed it up best of all I think, when we were talking the other day about Roundies and Squaries. “Perhaps I’m an octagon”, he said.

I wonder what you are?

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